December 09, 2006

Reclaiming bharatiya studies

Reclaiming bharatiya studies

Click In this article on vernaculars and sanskrit written in March 2006, I commented on the distortions indulged in by Sheldon Pollock and Robert (also Sally Sutherland) Goldman denigrating the contributions of sanskrit language and literature to bharatiya society and samskriti. I had endorsed Rajiv Malhotra's observations that " The Western Sanskritist, he says, feels this most acutely, given that Sanskrit was the principal discursive instrument of domination in premodern India. Thus Pollock deftly turns Said's attack on imperialism into nonsense by insisting that the subjugated Indians are themselves imperialists, as much as the conquering Europeans. In Pollock's view, the trend continues today, and sanskrit is being continuously reappropriated by many of the most reactionary and communalist sectors of the population (Pollock 1993: 116). " The distortions indulged in by Michael Witzel are well documented at Click

Now some are lamenting (see Annex) the closure of sanskrit (and indian philology) studies in Cambridge and Berlin universities. The closure of the sanskrit (aha, southasian studies) at Harvard u cannot be far behind.

Is this a good thing or bad? Methinks, these are good auguries, good developments nailing the last nail on the coffin of a mythical discipline called 'indology' closely following a non-falsifiable discipline called indo-european linguistics (IEL).

The indologists are themselves to blame for landing themselves in this state of lament, given as they are to insulting bharatiya traditions, ethos and civilization at every turn, every opportunity.

Methinks, the vacuum created by the epitaph being sung on indology should result in a new upsurge of bharatiya studies based on bharatiya ethos and traditions. A wealth of literature and epigraphs exist; a wealth of tradition is enshrined in magnificent sculptures, art treasures, music and dance forms all over bharatam – a cultural domain which extended from Takshas'ila into Nagara Vatika (Angkor Wat) and beyond into Japan in a Sanatana dhamma – esha dhammo sanantano continuum.

It is time to reclaim bharatiya studies from the relics called indologists and create a new fervor among the youth of the youngest nation of the world and instill in them a sense of pride in their millennial, civilizational heritage.

The time is now, to unshackle ourselves from the siege started by indologists and vaingloriously pursued by pseudo-secular groups. A beginning has been made. See notes and documentation at http://sarasvati95. googlepages. com The rotten, motivated account of ancient socio-cultural history written by indologist-marxist combine has to be replaced by Itihaasa Bharati, an account of the contributions made by jaati, janajaati to bharatiya ethos, traditions, samskriti.

As a first step, the 'aryan hoax' of a marble statue depicting William Jones (Supreme Court judge of East India Company) wearing a skull-cap should be removed from the chapel at Oxford College. (See picture, thanks to Rajiv Malhotra, at ) He was NO law-giver of Bharatam. He knew little about dharmas'aastra- s. Bharatiya rishi-s and ancestors are the law-givers, the dharmaatma of Bharatam.

Kalyanaraman December 10, 2006


Two messages of Indo-eurasian_ research yahoogroup have been forwarded to me.

This is to inform, that not ony at Cambridge but also at Berlin there will be no in-depth Sanskrit Studies any more in near future.

Since 1821 Sanskrit has been taught at a Berlin university by such well kown scholars as Bopp, Weber, Pischel, Lüders

Now as a result of structural policy of the two major Berlin universities on the one hand and the over all BA/MA reforms on the other there will be no more students after 2008 of Sanskrit in a BA-course. As a consequence traditional Indology will seize to exist at Berlin.


There is no consolation in the fact, that the teaching of Indian Art-History will survive for the time being as a subject under the roof of General Art-History and Modern Indian History will still be taught at Humboldt-University . Sanskrit and the other historical Indian Languages and the bulk of literature and informations transmitted through them will remain closed to all students of that fields.

To indologists this measures are obvious as short sighted and ridiculous in the light of the importance of Sanskrit and its derivates for the development and spread of all cultures in India, Central- and South-East-Asia.

It is deplorable that the many years fight of a scholar of great international
reputation as Harry Falk for the survival of his field at one of the two Berlin
universities seems to have been in vain.

Caren Dreyer

5 December 2006

To continue our discussion of the abolition of Sanskrit at Cambridge and Berlin:

After reunification there were about 20 institutes for Indology in Germany -- I leave aside here Austria and the German speaking part of Switzerland: Bern, Zurich, Vienna, Graz. In Germany, this number has his has now been whittled down to some 15.

The obvious reason is, as we will see below: just money.

To begin, it must be underlined that universities in Europe usually are government funded: by the central Govt. in Britain, France, Holland, and by the various federal states in Germany. (The few new, fledgling private Universities have not taken off yet.)

Berlin Indology, after reunification, was the largest in all of Germany, with 2 institutes at its 2 universities: the old Humboldt U. (heavily Marxified between 1945-1990) and the post '45 Free University in W. Berlin . In the Indology listings of 1996 I count some 30 Professors, lecturers (etc.). How many of them, and which institutions, will have survived, we will be able to see in the new version, due early next year… In addition to this accumulation of specialists, we have the magnificent Museum of Indian Art (re)built in 1968, the extremely well stocked Oriental Division of the former Prussian State (Royal) Library, the Catalogue Project of Indian MSS, and the Academy.

However, the Berlin case is just the last instance of a general disastrous trend of diminishing resources (see next message). At Berlin, the situation has been dire for 15 years. W. Berlin always was a heavily subsidized island inside E. Germany. After reunification, the
new federal state of Berlin has been and still is in great financial trouble. (Recently they have even dissolved their symphony orchestra, if memory serves right).

Therefore, the Berlin authorities decided to pool the resources of the two Indology departments at Berlin. Humboldt University should have got Indian Philology (that has been cut out now at Freie Universitaet) . But Humboldt wants to concentrate on modern India (true to their, now generally abandoned, 45 years of Marxist interest just in modern nations). While Indian Philology was cut at Free U., Indian Art will move, next Wednesday, to the general Arts Dept.

It is a Catch 22 situation: Free U. does not want Indian Philology, nor does Humboldt who wants to be 'modern' and have room for new "Profs. Of excellence" (another American fad that has invaded Europe and Japan and wrecks havoc everywhere now).

The net result is the loss we now deplore. It is a more than small scandal that the second oldest chair in Indian Studies in Germany has fallen prey to cutbacks and the parochial interests of those directly involved: all levels of administration at Free U. do not want Indian Philology.

(I do not need to stress here why we need the study of older India if we want to understand modern society etc. Colonial and post-'47 history, as championed in many places worldwide now, does not cut it.)

Therefore, as some have already expressed, it could only be private donors that should step up to the plate now. Unfortunately, the culture of giving for cultural institutions is not very much developed in Germany (and Europe in general).The motto rather is: "We pay a lot of taxes" –-I paid some 60% in Holland—"so the state has to take care of our universities, museums, orchestras, etc."

Unfortunately the state (Berlin) is bankrupt...

As in Germany matters of culture always are the prerogative of the individual federal states, one might hope that the situation could be reversed in some years, and that it would suffice, for the moment, to keep a minimum of staff in place or some activities running. However, Berlin is so run down and still has to carry so much restoration of things neglected during communist era that this hope is premature.

We should deliberate here what could be done practically, and of course, also point out, to the authorities (not much hope, see above), so rather, accuse, wherever possible: what has been carried out here, is a *cultural* misdeed.

Can you imagine Germany's capital and largest city to be without the study of India, just when India is emerging globally?

(More on the general backgound in the next message) MW>

Michael Witzel
Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University
1 Bow Street , 3rd floor, Cambridge MA 02138
1-617-495 3295 Fax: 496 8571
direct line: 496 2990

Click 9 December 2006

Dharma protects those who protect it
Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha

S. Kalyanaraman

EU reoprt on Kashmir stirs Pak reaction

What went wrong with EU Foreign Affairs Committee Report that has disturbed Islamabad ?

Mumtaz Khan
Vice chair IKA

The recent outcry of Islamabad over the draft report of Baroness Nicholson on Kashmir, especially on Pakistan administered Areas apparently has irked the Pakistan establishment which was taken a back by reading about the rights conditions of the Area, which was never known to the rest of world. As strict measures had been placed by Islamabad to restrict the access of non-resident to its controlled Azad Kashmir where access for any foreigner was if not impossible but was close to that. Whoever in the past had tried to sneak in this Area to learn about the ground realities and human rights situation had to land into the jail and finally thrown out of the Area, and was accused for fomenting the political instability in the Area. Two names Clar-e-Galez and Paul Bearsman two Belgium nationals, but human rights activists had desired to get some insight of the Area might still have some bitter memories of their ordeal that ended with involvement of Belgium embassy and they were released.

Azad Kashmir has been prohibited territory for non-residents except those who were escorted by the government agencies and allowed them to meet their arranged sponsored leaders to brief the foreign delegates to draw a heavenly picture of this Area where Pakistan ’s lent officers to the military and intelligence officers are often described as angelic persons in our region. This dogma of Pakistan’s control was to expose some days sooner or later, although it took outside world more than half of century to dig the facts out of this Area; especially after the most unfortunate earthquake that struck the Area so badly and effected immensely, and shook entire world who rushed to this part before Pakistan Army could had reached to the victims.

Human Right Watch-HRW, the first international organization that has taken interest, has narrated the tragedy in its report, “that Kashmir is one of the most heavily militarized regions of the world, and those buried under the rubbles and their relatives who tried frantically to dig them out with their bare hands would have been justified in thinking that help would arrive rapidly. It was fair to hope that the armies massed on both sides of LOC separating Azad Kashmir and Jammu Kashmir state, ostensibly to protect Kashmiri population, would move quickly to save Kashmiri lives from natural threat. But as time passed and the sound of life beneath the rubbles began to grow silent, it became painfully and brutally clear that hope was misplaced. In the aftermath of the disaster, the Indian and Pakistani militaries didn’t make the saving of Kashmiri lives priority. As India and Pakistan engaged in diplomatic one-upmanship-making and refusing the offers of help based on political opportunism rather than humanitarian concerns-the death toll mounted”.

The misperception about the long heralded free Kashmir of Pakistan was over as soon as world community reached to this region for relief and rescue operations, and witnessed the pathetic conditions of the Area. World community was under the false impression that conditions are not favorable only in the Indian controlled Kashmir where political uprising and militancy had largely drawn world attention and criticism. If state of Pakistan that was mostly controlled and ruled by the military that lacks the democratic culture and institutions, where respect for the political and civil rights could never become reality, expecting any good in its controlled Areas was another fallacy that was based on continued Pakistan propaganda about Indian administered Kashmir . The recent report of Baroness Nicholson in which she has touched almost every aspect of the life in Pakistan controlled Kashmir that affects the life and rights of the people whether it be earthquake, a weak and corrupt institutions, corruptions, displacement of the people; further in aftermath of earthquake period health, education, employments, shelters water, those have seriously effected the people because of no access to the basic facilities that clearly indicated the government’s failures to prioritize the issues of immense importance. She is not the first who has lifted the veil first time from Azad Kashmir through her findings. Rather she has made serious and honest effort to highlight the political and social conditions of this Area that was largely neglected and misrepresented by the Islamabad ’s hand picked leadership to conceal the longstanding human rights abuses because of serious and stringent control on the movement of non-residents and flow of information and absence of local media in the region.

While continued hue and cry about the abuses in Indian administered Kashmir, and “Kashmiri aspirations” that were largely denied in its controlled Areas, as she rightly pointed out in her draft report “strongly emphasis that, in the context of massive destruction and social upheaval wrought by the earthquake on an already weakened democratic base, and given the enormous seriousness of humanitarian situation, continuing calls for plebiscite on final status of Jammu and Kashmir are wholly out of the step with the needs of the local people and thus damaging to their interests; urges those playing “big power” politics when millions are in basic need to redirect their energies to fighting the corruption that has wrongly diverted the flow of international funding away from the intended recipients; notes that, even without the earthquake, any plebiscite would have been meaningless without change in policy from Islamabad, which maintains that all Kashmir is an integral part of Pakistan’s territory; underlines furthermore that plebiscite without such a policy change could be no more than a rubber stamp on the status quo:”. In her report she further said, that “ it appalled that the already minimal basic “rights” enjoyed by the by Pakistani Kashmiris before earthquake (i.e. food, water, shelter, sanitation, schools, and barely adequate health centers) have been decimated, compounding a situation notable for lack of democracy and existence of oppressive and unjust laws, especially those applicable to women”.

There are other points that she has raised about the political and social conditions that persist in the Pakistan administered Kashmir . nonetheless she refrained to touch another area and people of major concern where miserable economic and political conditions are far beyond one imagination, is Gilgit Baltistan but unfortunately it has failed to evoke any interest or attention among the international community. The question is that what went wrong with the report that has deeply disturbed the Islamabad when in the report no false information was provided. This report is rather authenticated since prior to this report another report had been brought out by the Human Rights Watch-HRW that had by and large raised the same issues of abuses and violation where free will of the people is denied and restricted under the so-called ideology of state’s accession to Pakistan. Same issue was raised by the Baroness in her report that how people are barred from government making because of their political disagreement with this opinion.

HRW report was more comprehensive and detailed than the Baroness Nicholson that has dealt every issue at length and described how they were appalled first when they came across to the pathetic conditions of this Area. It drew picture of the Area in its report that “earthquake put the international spotlight on Azad Kashmir first time. Previously, attentions had been almost wholly on Jammu and Kashmir State in India , which since 1989 has endured a brutal insurgency and counterinsurgency, where human rights abuses by security forces and militants were well documented. But the world knows little about the Azad Kashmir, other than that territory has been used by Pakistan backed militant groups as staging ground for attacks in Jammu and Kashmir . It further says that Aid organizations and donors that wanted to learn about the Azad Kashmir after earthquake so that they could respond in useful and informed manner quickly discovered that there was virtually no published information. This is because prior to the earthquake, Azad Kashmir was one of the most closed territories in the World. While Jammu and Kashmir state had known considerable tourist traffic prior to the beginning of insurgency there, the Areas of Kashmir on the other side of LOC’ Means Pakistani side, had seen little external interest or presence after he British colonial era in 1947- a situation used by the Pakistan to exercise absolute control over the territory”.

By looking at both reports and both parts of Kashmir any neutral observer can draw the conclusion about the socio-economic and political conditions of both parts since division. If ask Islamabad to revisit its statements prior to this report when Islamabad was frequently making references to the reports of EU or human rights organization that favored its viewpoint but now Islamabad dismisses contents of this report, and its cronies ask common Kashmiri not be receptive such reports because it has lifted the veil on the situation of Pakistan controlled parts. Why credibility of EU reports or HRW reports was never questioned by Pakistan when they published reports on violations in Indian administered Kashmir but when same Countries and human right organizations raised concerns about the human rights situation of Pakistan administered Areas how such reports have become incredible. The world community has unbiasedly been reporting what was happening in Indian side and it has sincerely tried to report and register its concerns what it has witnessed in Pakistan administered Kashmir . Albeit one may regret on EU Committee for partly failing to ignore Northern Areas (gilgit Baltsitan) where rights situation is really vulnerable, and absence of so-called institutions like Azad Kashmir have made conditions absolutely unbearable for the inhabitants of that part. The approach of inclusion was not adopted here again by leaving Northern Areas out of this report. But EU and other organizations genuine and serious interest in conflict resolution can be meaningful when the legitimate grievances and interests of all parties are equally taken into the account irrespective of regions and leaders.
At this juncture what Pakistan needs to demonstrate the uniformed approach not unilateral; disregarding one opinion, one region, one faith and one people that genuinely fall in the outlines that Islamabad draws about the other part of Kashmir ?

The new overtures of Mushraf can only be meaningful when his words are supported by his actions. But when his actions do not support his words the fate of such overtures is going to be the old agreements and initiatives that have failed to produce lasting peace and stability between both countries. The fate of every initiative will be determined by the both governments genuine interests in making Kashmiri aspirations their top priority. When referring aspirations that is not necessarily be interpreted in territorial frame work which has been the major obstacle in the past and we clearly can read with present language that it is yet another obstacle but shifting positions creating ray of hope to overcome this problem.

One may ask oneself what has stirred so much reaction in Islamabad circles on this report is beyond one’s comprehension. It has certainly damaged the some Pakistan supported Kashmiri to which Islamabad has sub-contracted the Kashmir policy abroad to promote pro-Pakistan agenda by establishing the huge centers; where millions of dollars are squandered every year in the name of Kashmiri aspirations to which they miserably failed to deliver. This reaction should have directed on them instead of cursing and criticizing the author of the report who made a brilliant and courageous attempt to show the other side of the coin to international community to raise the awareness about the Area and rights situation.

The report has presented nothing unusual or untrue that doesn’t exist in that Area. If report is calling that call from Pakistan for plebiscite was wholly out of step, has not made any unwanted comments; since Mushraf has already acknowledged many times, and recently all Media has reported his interview with NDTV on December 4, 2006, that he is prepared to give up Kashmir and demand for plebiscite if solution can be worked out along self governance. While he has categorically opposed the idea of independent Kashmir and advocated self governance, which has nothing to do with plebiscite, UN resolutions, and right to self determination. While, shift in policy has clearly been reflected in Pakistan sponsored conferences abroad on Kashmir in which organizers were shy of talking about the right to self determination where top Pakistani officials were present too. Recently, Khalid Hussan and Azeem mian from Daily times and daily Jang respectively, had written articles and criticized Pakistan establishment that how it has taken u turn on Kashmir when organizers of its sponsored lavish conferences abroad distanced themselves to include the word right to self determination.

The question is not that what political impact report is going to make since Pakistan successive regimes paid no heed to democratic voices and values in Pakistan since its inception how such reports are going to embarrass Islamabad regimes on Kashmir. Irony is that the way Pakistan controlled politicians and media has stormed over report to pressurize the author indicates its bullish tactics to which often political opponents and people are subject of such tactics to silent them.

In last 15 years period of militancy Pakistan effort to internationalize the Indian administered Kashmir has badly undermined the Pakistan administered Areas where its political visibility, its rights, voice, identity, culture and leadership has become subservient to the interests of valley. While every resource, energy, talent, opportunity was diverted to sustain the militancy and political instability in the Indian administered Kashmir . And rights of the people of this Area dwindled under overwhelming control of agencies to keep Jihad going across the border. Attempt to highlight Indian administered Areas have seriously impacted the rights situation of Pakistan administered Areas. There was hope that in post earthquake period priorities of the Islamabad would change to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of thousands of displaced, orphaned, widows. But as course of actions have indicated that government is still largely engaged in highlighting Indian administered Kashmir and Jihad while people are suffering and dying because of inaccessibility to the shelter, health, water, electricity, education after over year of disaster. The CBMs and peace initiatives yet seem to be illusive when thrust, resources, propaganda, political culture and efforts are not to shift to strengthen the them but against them. The change in actions can only indicate in change of mind.

December 07, 2006

The Kurdish Security Network in Northern Iraq

In spite of escalating violence in Iraq, the very region that served as the gateway for al-Qaeda in Iraq is now one of the most secure areas in the country. Iraqi Kurdistan, formally the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), has taken the opposite trajectory than most of Iraq. While the rest of the country was under the secure repression of Saddam Hussein, Kurdistan suffered from government-sponsored chemical attacks on Kurdish civilians. Moreover, while Kurdistan in the years prior to the war served as an open gate for al-Qaeda terrorists, among them Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, terrorist insurgents had not yet infiltrated the entire country. Now, however, the Iraqi capital and most of Iraq have steadily descended into terrorist and sectarian violence while Iraqi Kurdistan has flushed out foreign fighters (aside from the PKK, which they support) and flourished, both politically and economically. The reasons for this are many and varied, but require a concerted effort to be sustained.

At the cusp of the U.S.-led invasion, the most severe threat to the Kurdish region was Ansar al-Islam. Many analysts believe Ansar al-Islam had established links with al-Qaeda through al-Zarqawi upon his entry into Iraq through Kurdistan. Ansar al-Islam, formed out of the remnants of Jund al-Islam, had the stated objective of defeating the secular Kurdish leadership and installing Islamic rule in Iraq's Kurdish area. Ansar al-Islam, and its off-shoot Ansar al-Sunnah, had targeted KRG officials in the past and had control over remote villages in Kurdistan's mountainous terrain. Ansar al-Islam carried out a targeted assassination campaign and killed the former Assyrian governor of Irbil, Franso Hariri, in 2001 and attempted to assassinate top PUK official and now Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih in 2002 (Terrorism Monitor, December 20, 2005).

The political dynamic changed after the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, however, and the Kurdish leaders recognized the opportunity to gain power, legitimacy and autonomy. This was the prime motivating factor behind the resolve to rid Kurdish areas of Salafi groups. By cooperating with coalition forces, and U.S. intelligence in particular, the KDP and PUK made a concerted effort to root out Ansar al-Islam and similar Salafi elements from the Kurdish region. This effort was mostly successful. Ansar al-Islam melted away and its members migrated to other groups operating largely outside of the KRG. Yet the threat was not entirely gone.

On February 1, 2004, Ansar al-Sunnah launched simultaneous attacks on PUK and KDP offices during Eid celebrations. Approximately 109 people were killed and 200 others wounded. KRG Deputy Prime Minister Sami Abdul Rahman and a prominent Turkish businessman were among those killed. Many have said that this was Kurdistan's 9/11. It was another wake up call that the KRG had to do more to eradicate terrorism from the region. The terrorist attacks also occurred during a critical point in political negotiations over the interim constitution in which the Kurdish representatives were trying to negotiate as much autonomy as possible for the Kurdish region under the new Iraqi government. The Kurdish representatives were determined not to let the growing insecurity in the country get in the way of their long-held political objectives. Thus, Kurdish officials gained new resolve. In a press statement issued the day of the attack, Barham Salih, then prime minister of the KRG in Sulimaniyah, stated, "The KRG, will use all the powers available to it to find and prosecute those behind today's terrorist incidents. It will spare no effort to keep Iraqi Kurdistan safe and secure from such terrorism in the future" (KRG Press Statement, February 1, 2004). The KRG took the threat very seriously and resolved to prevent terrorists from infiltrating the region again for fear of disrupting Kurdish political ambitions.

Unlike the rest of Iraq, the Kurds had clear objectives they wanted to gain out of the U.S.-led invasion and it was partly this that motivated them to act so decisively and in unity. Despite having fought an internecine war in the mid-1990s that engendered a lot of mistrust between the followers of the two main parties, the Kurdish leadership decided to put all of this aside for the sake of larger objectives—Kurdish autonomy.

Unity and continuity of leadership is another reason why the Kurdish region has largely escaped Iraq's violence. Although the Kurdish region in Iraq was always precariously balanced between the whims of various regional powers and the repression of Saddam's regime, the region has experienced a certain stability and continuity in a way that the rest of Iraq cannot claim. Kurdistan has had a continuity of leadership under the KDP and PUK for the past 15 years—two parties that have ruled Kurdistan with an iron-clad hold on power. While more Kurdish citizens would like greater opportunities for political participation outside the patronage networks of the two parties, there is no power struggle, no violent assertions of power, some experience in quasi-democratic governance and some experience in institution-building and self-governance. There is, for the most part, a grumbling acceptance of the KDP/PUK monopoly on power because they have managed to provide for the security of their citizens.

There is also a definite lack of a permissive environment for violent terrorists and extremists. Security is extremely tight in the KRG and this has as much to do with citizen-security cooperation than anything else. According to one senior Kurdish official, "Kurdistan is blessed with the cooperation between people and law enforcement forces. This cooperation has been very useful in giving the terrorists very little chance to hide and be left unnoticed…People from Kurdistan have been indiscriminately subject to oppression, which has helped the Kurdistan inhabitants to defend themselves together against others."

In Kurdistan, people know who is a stranger and who is not. Citizens fearing anything suspicious only have to call on their local Asayish—internal security agencies run by both the KDP and PUK. They control prisons, checkpoints and police. There are also the domestic intelligence agencies, the Parastin and Zaniyari. These local security services and the peshmerga monitor villages and towns, and most importantly checkpoints. When visiting the KRG overland, all visitors must have an invitation from a Kurdistan resident and a number of documents. Workers must have employment papers. Each visitor is checked and almost every car is stopped and inspected. Many checkpoints employ more than 50 soldiers.

There is a great deal of trust between Kurdish civilians and the security services, especially the peshmerga forces (former Kurdish fighters who fought against Saddam and other threats). The peshmerga have a special and revered place in Kurdistan and are thus respected and trusted by Kurdish citizens. Kurdish leaders managed to retain control over their peshmerga fighters. Moreover, they have ensured that Kurdish peshmerga remain legally independent from the larger Iraqi security structure through provisions in the transitional and permanent constitution while also integrating some of their fighters into national Iraqi security structures. Hamid Effendi, KDP minister for the peshmerga, has said, "The Arabs in southern Iraq struggle to build a new Iraqi army, but the Kurds already have one. The peshmerga wear Iraqi army uniforms, but they are still Kurds. We have about 60,000 peshmerga. And now they've got big guns" (The Scotsman, November 5).

Given their experience fighting Saddam's forces (and at one point each other), the peshmerga are a disciplined and effective counter-terrorism force. According to Masrour Barzani, head of KDP security, "They know the area, the terrain, the people and are dedicated to protecting their region and their people. They are well trained, and are also experts in fighting terrorism and are up to the challenges they face." The fact that the last terrorist attack was over a year ago in June 2005 when a suicide car bomber killed at least 13 Iraqi police officers and wounded more than 100 in Irbil is testament to their effectiveness. More importantly, their reputation precedes them. Even though elements of the indigenous, nationalist insurgency have voiced a great deal of criticism against the Kurds for enshrining a federal system in Iraq, they know there is little they can do about it militarily.

The peshmerga have also stayed out of the sectarian conflict that has plagued Iraq in recent months. They are more disciplined than the Shiite or Sunni militias. Since they have not perpetrated attacks on other groups, there has been no retaliation against the Kurds. Politically, both the KDP and PUK are allied with powerful Shiite groups and have worked successfully with Sunni tribes and groups in the past. Sunni Arab insurgents have thus largely focused elsewhere. They have more of a quarrel with Iraq's Shiites than they do with Iraq's Kurds. Iraq's Shiites are embroiled in trying to govern the rest of Iraq and fight against the Sunni insurgency that has targeted their people.

Additionally, the Kurds' close cooperation with coalition military and intelligence has been instrumental in keeping their region safe. Rooting out terrorists from Kurdistan and preventing others from entering is not solely their own doing. "There are professional security and intelligence institutions which have been very active and successful in pursuing any traces they suspect might lead them to terrorists. Their dedication has helped identify and arrest all the known terrorist cells linked to other terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Sunnah and so on" (author interview, Masrour Barzani, December 4, 2005).

Despite their success, Kurdish officials must retain their vigilance if security in the KRG is to continue and improve. According to Barzani, "there is still a chance for terrorists and proxies of the neighboring countries to operate in the Kurdistan region and be destructive." Kurdish officials are still concerned about Kurdish or other militants infiltrating Kurdistan's mountainous terrain to direct terrorist attacks. It would be extremely difficult to rid terrorists from the forbidding Kurdish mountains. KRG control over outlying areas is still incomplete and will remain a challenge in the coming years.

Lydia Khalil recently returned from Iraq where she worked as governance policy advisor for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.

December 06, 2006

EU DRAFT REPORT Kashmir: present situation and future prospects

Click and Download Word Document


2004 2009
Committee on Foreign Affairs

on Kashmir: present situation and future prospects
Committee on Foreign Affairs
Rapporteur: Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne


on Kashmir: present situation and future prospects

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its recent resolutions referring to Jammu and Kashmir, in particular its resolutions of 29 September 2005 on EU-India relations: A Strategic Partnership , of 17 November 2005 on Kashmir , of 18 May 2006 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2005 and the EU's policy on the matter , of 28 September 2006 on the EU's economic and trade relations with India , of 22 April 2004 on the EC-Pakistan Cooperation Agreement and of 22 April 2004 on the situation in Pakistan ,

– having regard to the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council on this issue,

– having regard to the report on the visits of Parliament's ad hoc delegation to Jammu and Kashmir adopted by the Committee on Foreign Affairs in November 2004,

– having regard to the devastating earthquake which struck Jammu and Kashmir on 8 October 2005,

– having regard to the visit of President Musharraf of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Committee on Foreign Affairs on 12 September 2006,

– having regard to the 7th EU-India Summit held in Helsinki on 13 October 2006,

– having regard to the visits made by Parliament's rapporteur to both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) in June 2006,

– having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

– having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A6 0000/2006),

A. whereas the territory which constituted the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir is currently administered in separate parts by the Republic of India, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of China, and has a total population of 13.4 million,

B. whereas much of Jammu and Kashmir, in particular Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), suffers from extreme poverty and neglect, with enormous deficiencies in basic literacy and numeracy, access to healthcare, lack of democratic structures and major deficiencies in the rule of law and justice; and whereas the whole of Jammu and Kashmir suffers from exceptional economic decline,
C. whereas the question of water resources is a factor underlying the dispute between Pakistan and India over Jammu and Kashmir and is central to any definitive resolution,

D. whereas Jammu and Kashmir has been divided by war for nearly 60 years, a period punctuated by armed conflicts between India, Pakistan and China; whereas the conflicts between India and Pakistan now involve international terrorism, and whereas both nations are now nuclear powers,

E. whereas a ceasefire has been in place on the LoC since November 2003 and, despite a few breaches, has continued to hold,

F. whereas the ceasefire has enabled India and Pakistan to engage in an on-going dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir which is now starting to be modestly successful, and whereas a number of Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) are being implemented as part of the peace process; and whereas the Kashmiri people on both sides are being fully involved and integrated into that process, taking local responsibility,

G. whereas on the morning of 8 October 2005 an earthquake of magnitude 7.6 on the Richter Scale, the most devastating international earthquake in living memory, struck a broad swathe of territory from Afghanistan through Pakistan and India, but with by far the greatest impact felt in Jammu and Kashmir, with exceptional losses in AJK,

H. whereas in minutes the earthquake claimed over 75,000 lives in AJK, later rising to 88,000, and claimed 6,000 in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, and left tens of thousands of people injured and millions entirely displaced, with minimal basic needs provision and without permanent shelter, employment, health care and education, on the Pakistani side; whereas dozens of towns and villages have been partially or totally destroyed, agriculture decimated and the environment contaminated, and whereas levels of development have been set back centuries,


1. Stresses that both India and Pakistan are important EU partners; notes that the EU has not been invited to take on a mediating role in the Kashmir dispute; nevertheless thinks that the EU may have something to offer based on past experience of conflict resolution in a multi-ethnic, multinational, multi-faith context; therefore offers the present resolution and any meetings that may come out of it as part of a shared experience from which the EU can also learn;

2. Notes that both countries are now members of the nuclear club; draws attention to the fact that India is the world's largest democracy and has a functioning democracy at local level, whereas Pakistan still has to show that it is respecting democratic principles in a great many areas;

3. Notes that the impact of the earthquake on the Pakistani Kashmiris has gravely exacerbated the already exceptionally sparse basic needs provision and has dramatically impaired institution and capacity-building potential;

4. Underlines the common heritage shared by India and Pakistan, exemplified in the ancient culture of Jammu and Kashmir; recognises and values the pluralism, multiculturalism and multi-faith nature and traditions of the peoples of Jammu and Kashmir;

5. Urges the Governments of Pakistan and India to resolve the crucial riparian issues affecting the head waters and the use of the rivers flowing through Jammu and Kashmir (the Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers) as swiftly as possible; nevertheless, urges that the agricultural, fishing, livestock and human water requirements of the local people remain a key priority;

Impact of the earthquake of 8 October 2005
6. Strongly emphasises that the earthquake has had an immense impact on the lives of the people on both sides of the political divide, and that the vast humanitarian situation has completely changed the political conditions on the ground in AJK; regrets that it has made everyday life virtually impossible for millions of people who were already among some of the most disadvantaged in the region; underlines that day-to-day survival is now the overwhelming priority for the people;

7. Regrets that, in addition to the massive loss of life, AJK suffered incalculable material damage to its infrastructure (hospitals, schools, government buildings, communication channels) and to what were in many cases already fragile basic institutions and services;

8. Is deeply saddened that the earthquake had a disproportionate impact on children, nearly wiping out a whole generation of Pakistani Kashmiris, which may well be the most devastating long-term impact of the earthquake; is highly concerned about reports of child trafficking in the aftermath of the disaster, given that even before the earthquake mechanisms for child protection were virtually non-existent;

9. Draws attention to the plight of three million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) created by the earthquake in AJK; in the absence of a convention on the rights of IDPs, welcomes the UN’s ‘Guiding Principles’ which offer the basis for a humane response to the insidious assault of forced displacement on human rights; demands that Pakistan respect these principles supported by the international community and strongly recommends that the EU focus consistently on them, as well as on broader issues of democracy, justice and human rights in Pakistan; notes also that on both sides of the LoC long-standing 'refugee' camps should be dismantled, and proper attention paid to their occupants' protection, needs and social integration;

10. Stresses that the disaster struck a region already weakened by 60 years of festering conflict, one which is in the eye of the storm of the war against terrorism, and where fundamental institutions have been constantly undermined by organised crime and terror networks exploiting Pakistan as a major base, using the rugged terrain and institutional deficiencies of that country to undermine regional stability;

11. Is appalled that the already minimal basic “rights” enjoyed by Pakistani Kashmiris before the earthquake (i.e. food, water, shelter, sanitation, schools, and barely adequate health-centres) have been decimated, compounding a situation notable for a lack of democracy and the existence of oppressive and unjust laws, especially those applicable to women;

12. Strongly emphasises that, in the context of the massive destruction and social upheaval wrought by the earthquake on an already weakened democratic base, and given the enormous seriousness of the humanitarian situation, continuing calls for a plebiscite on the final status of Jammu and Kashmir are wholly out of step with the needs of the local people and thus damaging to their interests; urges those playing 'big power' politics when millions are in basic need to redirect their energies to fighting the corruption that has wrongly diverted the flow of international funding away from the intended recipients; notes that, even without the earthquake, any plebiscite would have been meaningless without a change in policy from Islamabad, which maintains that all of Kashmir is an integral part of Pakistan's territory; underlines furthermore that a plebiscite without such a policy change could be no more than a rubber stamp on the status quo;

13. Notes that Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir was less affected by the earthquake than its neighbour (tens of thousands made homeless, as opposed to millions on the Pakistani side) and has been better able to cope; applauds the competence with which the emergency was addressed by the government, the local population and the army; notes that, as a result, of the 30,000 who lost their homes, all now have housing due in large measure to an intelligent self-help policy instituted by the government;

Political situation: the aspirations of the people
14. Congratulates India and Pakistan on the peace moves currently under way, and welcomes the fact that bilateral talks, put on hold for three months after the July 2006 bombings in Mumbai, have re-started; stresses the need for the region, the EU and the international community to support the current bilateral talks and for a further strengthening of exchanges, with the aim of generating a more stable and prosperous future for the people of Jammu and Kashmir;

15. Has warmly welcomed the CBMs initiated by India and Pakistan, which are achieving a moderate degree of success in reducing tension and suspicion on both sides;

16. Draws attention to the fact that ordinary Kashmiris, by virtue of the humanitarian situation after the earthquake, are now becoming intimately involved in the modalities of the peace process, through the exchanges taking place and the free movement (albeit still limited) across the LoC;

17. Regrets, however, that Pakistan has consistently failed to fulfil its obligations to introduce meaningful and representative democratic structures in AJK; notes in particular the continuing absence of Kashmiri representation in the Pakistan National Assembly, the fact that AJK is governed through the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs in Islamabad, that Pakistan officials dominate the Kashmir Council and that the Chief Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police, the Accountant-General and the Finance Secretary are all from Pakistan; abhors the provision in the 1974 Interim Constitution which forbids any political activity that is not in accordance with the doctrine of Jammu and Kashmir as part of Pakistan and obliges any candidate for a parliamentary seat in AJK to sign a declaration of loyalty to that effect; is concerned that the Gilgit-Baltistan region enjoys no form of democratic representation whatsoever;

18. Recognises that Pakistan finds itself in a particularly complex situation with pressure from many sources; nevertheless:
- deeply regrets that the lack of a national political will to address basic needs provision, political participation and the rule of law in AJK has left women there in a desperate situation following the earthquake;
- highlights particularly, in this context, the recent threats aimed at derailing planned amendments to the rape laws, and the repugnant Hudood Ordinances themselves which, despite the will of President Musharraf, have recently been reconfirmed by a national parliament in which neither the women nor the men of AJK have any representation; nonetheless welcomes and wholeheartedly supports the efforts made by reformist parliamentarians to repeal these abhorrent laws;
- notes too the difficult situation faced by homosexuals;

19. Urges the EU to take a firm stance against the abomination of the Hudood Ordinances and to revisit, critically, the 3rd Generation Cooperation Agreement it signed with Pakistan in 2004, Article 1 of which states very clearly that the Agreement must be based on a true respect for human rights and the upholding of true democratic principles, given that it is pre-eminently clear that Pakistan is not living up to its commitments, especially in AJK;

20. Urges Pakistan to revisit its concept of democratic accountability, minority and women's rights in AJK, which as elsewhere are key to improving conditions for the people and tackling the menace of terrorism;

21. Deplores documented human rights violations by the armed forces of India and the all too frequent incidents of terror and violence perpetrated by armed militant groups based in Pakistan; strongly urges both sides to do all they can to address these violations; welcomes Pakistan's public commitments to curb infiltration across the LoC by militants operating out of territory under its control, but believes it must take much stronger and more effective measures; welcomes the continued and determined commitment by President Musharraf to fighting terrorism, which, it is widely recognised, presents enormous challenges; approves and supports multilateral and bilateral EU Member State aid to assist Pakistan in fighting terrorism and in making determined efforts to improve the lives of the people of AJK;

22. Recognises and supports the aspiration of the Kashmiri people for a significantly reduced military presence in the area; points out, however, that meaningful demilitarisation can only take place alongside genuine action to neutralise the threat of infiltration of Jammu and Kashmir by militant outfits operating out of Pakistan;

23. Notes that while Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir enjoys a unique status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, granting it greater autonomy than other states in the Union, there remain deficiencies in practice with regard to human rights and direct democracy; is pleased, therefore, to see recent moves in Jammu and Kashmir to strengthen democracy (as evidenced by the 75% turnout in recent local elections); urges India's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to exercise its full mandate with regard to any suspected or documented violations and, to lend it even greater credibility, urges the NHRC to make good the absence of any human rights professionals on its governing board; looks forward to enhanced progress in this area, and to positive outcomes from the new laws on child labour and on women and violence;

24. Recognises the difficult living conditions of a number of groups, such as the migrant Pandits of the Kashmir Valley; urges that discrimination against them and other groups, particularly in employment, be addressed head on; suggests that such groups seek to empower themselves by establishing committees of their own elected representatives, ensuring that women and under-25s are properly represented;

25. Suggests that India consider granting Ladakh the same provincial status as that enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir; hopes that the Kargil-Skardu trade route can be re-established as part of the CBM process and that the Ladakh/Northern Areas division can be bridged by crossing points similar to those already established elsewhere along the LoC; suggests that India re-examine the issue of whether the people of Ladakh could also enjoy representation in the Rajya Sabha;

26. Urges India to renew its focus on Jammu and Kashmir, including job creation and measures to promote tourism, and to examine how the (forthcoming) EU-India partnership could help with the creation of new skills-based jobs, especially for youth;

Response to the earthquake of 8 October 2005

27. Acknowledges that the response to the earthquake from the international community, India and Pakistan (with some initial exceptions due to bureaucratic rigidity and lack of coordination) was swift: there were immediate contacts at the highest level between India and Pakistan; domestic and local NGOs responded well, working with the local and central administrations;

28. Congratulates all those involved in identifying and addressing the public health needs of earthquake survivors in camps, which, despite the challenges associated with the provision of clean potable water and appropriate sanitation facilities in post-disaster situations, have not seen major outbreaks of water-borne diseases;

29. Notes that Pakistan established a Federal Relief Commission within days of the disaster to coordinate search and rescue and relief operations; regrets, however, that Pakistan declined Indian offers of helicopters, on the grounds of their pilots' nationalities, as well as cross-LoC joint relief operations, medical relief teams and repair of telecom infrastructure, all of which could have significantly contributed to reducing casualties;

30. Welcomes the funds so speedily pledged by Pakistan's neighbouring states (India, China, Iran, Afghanistan) and, on a wider regional basis, by Turkey and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and by the international community as a whole; congratulates the European Commission, and, in particular DG ECHO, already present in Pakistan, for its immediate and effective response; encourages donors to deliver as swiftly as possible on their original pledges;

31. Highlights the fact that the initially hesitant reaction to the disaster by the Pakistani military created a needs vacuum in the immediate aftermath, which was exploited by militant organisations on the ground, such as the Jamaat-i-Islami, and Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the renamed Lakshar-e-Tayyaba (declared a terrorist organisation and, as such, banned by the Musharraf government in 2002), who swiftly became de facto providers of food, lodging, schooling for children and welfare for widows; is very concerned that this has bolstered the credibility of such polarising groups in the eyes of the local population, further undermining any potential for genuine democratic representation;

32. Urges the international community to use its massive reconstruction pledges to, among other things, support Pakistan’s democratic transition; is deeply concerned about corruption and especially recurring reports that these funds may be being diverted to support armed jihadi groups; urges the international donor community to do all it can to implement safeguards and to monitor closely the use of funds delivered;

33. Urges the EU and its institutions not to let the plight of the people of Jammu and Kashmir disappear from the radar screen and to ensure that aid and other programmes are designed and implemented with long-term recovery and institution-building in mind;

Confidence-Building Measures

34. Particularly welcomes the steps taken to reunite families divided by the LoC through the opening of five crossing points; is aware that the opening-up of meeting points on the LoC has been described as being demonstrably slow and not responding to the urgency of the situation on the ground; none the less, encourages and looks forward to increasingly frequent crossings; would like to see these extended to all citizens on both sides and recommends that India and Pakistan instigate measures to facilitate travel, e.g. increased consular services;

35. Believes it is vital to increase the frequency of cross-LoC exchanges at all levels of civil society and across all walks of life; suggests that exchange programmes be created between professional associations, schools and academics, including a common University with a campus on either side of the divide; to help reduce levels of mutual suspicion between the armies on either side, suggests that military-to-military contacts be initiated through exchanges between National Defence Colleges;

36. At the political level, recommends that a Joint India-Pakistan Parliamentary Committee be established to foster greater parliamentary exchanges and dialogue; similarly, that joint local government working parties be established to explore trade and tourism issues;

37. Encourages EU multinationals to recognise the investment potential of Jammu and Kashmir, and in particular the existence of a skilled, educated workforce on the Indian side; suggests that European businesses might enter into joint ventures with local companies and that investment insurance schemes be created to boost investor confidence;

38. Recognises the outstanding work being undertaken by the Commission's delegation in Islamabad;

39. Stresses that tourism has considerable potential to bolster the local economy; therefore encourages EU Governments to keep a close eye on the security situation, with a view to ensuring up-to-date, coordinated travel advice to those wishing to travel to Jammu and Kashmir;

40. Underlines that, as the EU's own experience demonstrates, one of the keys to improving relations between countries is through increasing bilateral trade flows; believes that, in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, cross-LoC trade is particularly vital to generating economic growth, development and the unlocking of its economic potential; recommends that road and infrastructure projects be made a priority;

41. Warmly welcomes the forthcoming initiative to open a road trade route between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad; strongly encourages both sides to move rapidly to significant volumes of trade; urges swift agreement on the modalities of road freight, with an emphasis on simplifying them as far as possible;

42. Strongly supports continuing initiatives by the political establishments on both sides and at all levels and urges them to give priority to the needs of the people of Kashmir, both materially and institutionally, so that their political, economic, social and cultural disadvantages can be redressed; recommends that the EU be available to respond to requests from either government;

43. Notes that natural disasters sometimes create the political conditions for peacemaking; recalls that in a BBC interview on 21 October 2005 President Musharraf wanted the LoC to be made 'irrelevant' so that it could handle the groundswell of human misery from the aftermath of the earthquake; regrets that while the immediate aftermath of the earthquake offered India and Pakistan a chance to take joint and sustainable action, this opportunity was only partially taken up; urges the two sides to look upon the quake as a wake-up call that nature knows no borders and that it is only together that they can offer the people of Kashmir any hope of rebuilding a future;

44. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States of the European Union, to the Governments of the Republic of India, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of China, and to the United Nations.

Afzal, Madani jo hatyare hain, wo Congress-Communist ko pyare hain

BJP walks out on Afzal posters issue

New Delhi, Dec. 5: The BJP staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, protesting against the projection of Parliament House attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru and terrorist Abdul Nazar Madani as "national heroes" by two parties in the Kerala byelections.

Shouting slogans and showing news reports during Zero Hour, BJP members trooped into the well of the House demanding the government give a statement as to why these two parties were trying to make these "terrorists" into "national heroes".

This led to another bout of protests from the Left parties and Congress. Slogans like "Afzal, Madani jo hatyare hain, wo Congress-Communist ko pyare hain (Afzal, Madani, who are killers, are dear to the Congress and Communists)." Raising the issue, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi expressed shock over the issue.

Hang Afzal or we give up medals: 13/12 martyrs' kin

Staff Reporter New Delhi

We will return the medals to the President if the Government does not take any decision on Mohammad Afzal's death sentence by December 13 - This is what the next of kin of the men and women killed in the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001, have to say.

In October, Mohammad Afzal Shaukat Guru was awarded death sentence by the Supreme Court for masterminding the attack on the seat of democracy.
Chairman of All India Anti-Terrorist Front MS Bitta with families of Parliament attack martyrs in New Delhi on Friday Vijay Kumar Pioneer

At a Press conference organised by the All India Anti Terrorist Front (AIATF) at Chelmsford Club in New Delhi on Friday, the bereaved families warned the Government that Afzal must be hanged, and soon, as the matter is being unnecessary delayed by the Law and Home Ministries.

Holding the medals - awarded posthumously to all those killed in the Parliament attack - 10 families said they have not been either forceful or aggressive till now, but enough was enough.

"The families have been disciplined and peaceful till now; they did not even file any petition to reopen the Parliament attack case, as they trusted the Government. But now, all of us have decided to return the medals if the (Home) Ministry does not hand over the Afzal report to the President by December 13," said MS Bitta, chairman of AIATF, alleging that the clemency call by some of the political parties for Afzal is part of conspiracy of the UPA Government.

"Our husbands saved India's Democracy; the Government has made mockery of their sacrifice. Five years have gone by but we have not received any help from the Government, but Afzal has become an important person for the Government. We only want respect for our husbands and not prizes or medals," said Ganga Devi, wife of ASI Nanak Chand.

Five of the families like that of Ganga Devi's lament that they were not given the petrol pumps as promised by the Government for their rehabilitation. Of them, one is Sunita, wife of ANI cameraman Vikram Singh Bisht killed in the crossfire between the terrorists and securitymen during on December 13, 2001.

Bitta said that till December 13, 2006, the Government owes it to the families of martyrs to set the date for Afzal's hanging. He also said that if SAR Geelani - the Delhi University lecturer and co-accused in the Parliament attack case acquitted recently - does not stop counselling Afzal, then he would move a petition to reopen the case against him. "There are several loopholes in the case, due to which he was acquitted. It was not put up properly before the court," he said.

"Do these terrorists have any right to take lives... They are not gods! Then why should the be shown mercy. My son or those they kill had no rivalry against them," said an angry 80-year-old Sardar Singh. He is the father of head constable Om Prakash, one of those killed in the Parliament attack.

The families hint that they will intensify their agitation in the future, if Afzal is not hanged soon. They say the five-year wait for justice was long enough, and now that the verdict has been pronounced, no one, not even the Government, should come object to the death sentence awarded to Afzal

December 04, 2006

Saraswati River: Pumpkin under a grain of rice

Smt. Sandhya Jain inaugurated the Sarasvati Dars'an Exhibition on 17 November 2006. The theme of the Exhibition which will now be taken to reach every village, every school in Bharatam is this: Sarasvati is neither a myth, nor a legend, but a scientifically proven fact.



Saraswati: Pumpkin under a grain of rice
By Sandhya Jain

A famous Tamil saying avers: you cannot hide a pumpkin under a grain of rice. It was precisely such a preposterous attempt—the denial of the very existence of the mighty river Saraswati by motivated Western and Indian Marxist scholars—that was powerfully overturned at the recent Saraswati Colloquium at Kurukshetra, Haryana (November 17 to 20, 2006).

Organised under the aegis of the Akhil Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana and the Saraswati Nadi Shodh Prakalp, the colloquium distinguished itself with a fascinating exhibition highlighting the material, scientific and administrative evidence of the existence of the river that nourished and inspired the country's ancient Vedic civilization. A nation-wide dissemination of the exhibition would soon put the political-academic detractors of the river to flight and diminish those who continue to deny the Vedic roots of the Harappan (Indus-Saraswati) civilization.

The exhibition featured Survey of India maps published in 1969 and 1970, which trace the route of the vanished Saraswati and its adjacent waters in the Haryana districts of Kurukshetra, Jind, Ambala, Karnal, Rohtak and Sonipat. There are detailed satellite images of its palaeo-channels and present-day drainages in Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, undertaken by ISRO's Regional Remote Sensing Service Centre at Jodhpur.

But the most clinching evidence of official administrative acknowledgement of the Vedic river and its northern Indian trajectory comes in the form of the small revenue maps traditionally maintained by village patwaris. These are historical government records, and the organisers of the exhibition have imaginatively culled out and joined the revenue maps of the villages of Yamuna Nagar and Kurukshetra districts, which clearly depict the course of the now invisible Saraswati.

At least 38 villages are covered by the maps, including Khera Kalan; Khera Khurd; Sabalpur; Muftabad (renamed Saraswati Nagar); Mali Mazra; Uncha Chandna; Gundana; Shahaberpura; Gajlana; Ram Nagar; Gog Mazra; Gura Singhal; Sultanpur; Kali Rona (Baban Khelna); Kandhauli; Bhaini; Gohan; Ishargarh; Bohti; Mukarpur; Pipli (Khetra Ratgal); Amargarh Majhada, Kurukshetra Jail ke peeche, Ratgal Shetra; North of Kurukshetra, front of Sector 13; Dera Khurd; Thanesar; Sheikh Chilli Maqbara Shetra; Gaon Bahri Kurukshetra, NE Shetra; Jogna Khera; Narkatari; Gulabgarh; SYL - Bhakra-Pehowa Road; Jyotisar (birthplace of Bhagvad Gita); Gaon Garhi Rojhan; Gaon Chailo; Murtzapur Bibipur lake; Sehda Unthsal Derhaja Bangdi; and Bodla Gaon.

This is incontrovertible evidence that the Saraswati's course has been known to cartographers from the time the river flowed powerfully from the mountains to the ocean, to the time it disappeared following tectonic movements in the earth's crust. Since the river did not dry up overnight, but continued to flow in lesser water systems, its course was remembered by succeeding generations. Interestingly, the Rig Vedic river is still known as Saraswati in its upper reaches in Haryana; it then joins the Ghaggar and later dries up near Sirsa. It is known as Ghaggar in Rajasthan, Hakra in Cholistan (Pakistan) and Nara in Sindh. Its final destination was the Rann of Kutch, east of the present-day Indus.

The Rig Veda envisages the Saraswati as having descended from the heavens. It is interesting that this river, which is the fountainhead of Indian culture, originates in the Tibetan Himalayas, as does the Brahmaputra, also associated with the creator-god Brahma. These two rivers thus embrace and irrigate the eastern and western extremities of India. Given the legendary fertility of the Saraswati, the states of Haryana, Gujarat, and Rajasthan have taken the initiative to link rivers to provide drinking water and irrigation facilities to farmers and with this raised the possibility of reviving the great river Saraswati.

The route of the vanished river was first established by the late Dr. Haribhau Wakankar, through satellite imagery and archaeological sites along its route. The Saraswati project was scrutinised by eminent archaeologists and geologists, and an earnest search for the lost river was launched in 1982, when Dr. Wakankar created a team of 49 scholars. Many events synergized thereafter. In 1995, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) found water in the Rajasthan desert at depths of merely 50 to 60 metres, making agriculture possible even in extreme summer. The Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI), Jodhpur, mapped the defunct course of a river through satellite and aerial photographs and field studies.

Satellite imagery suggests the river originated in Kailash Mansarovar and emerged on the plains from the Siwalik Hills at the foothills of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, flowed through the Ghaggar valley in Haryana and the Rajasthan desert, on to Hakra in the Cholistan desert (Sindh, Pakistan), before reaching the Rann of Kutch through the Nara Valley and falling off into the Arabian Sea. This river is obviously the Saraswati, as it is the only river in Indian literature and tradition that vanished. Scientific studies suggest it dried up around 2000 BC, which makes it a contemporary of the Indus Valley civilization and gives the Rig Veda a greater antiquity than previously suspected, as the Saraswati was a powerful river when the seers composed the Vedic shlokas.

Interestingly, after Pokharan 1998, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) tested the underground water for tritium (radio-active fallout), and found potable waters in the desert. These, derived from Himalayan glaciers, were 8000 to 14000 years old, and were being slowly recharged through aquifers from somewhere in the north despite the semi-arid region having scanty rainfall. BARC thus confirmed ISRO findings about the river.

In 2003-04, archaeologists from Shimla Circle established Adi Badri as the site where the river entered the plains, descending from the Rupin-Supin glaciers north of Paonta Saheb, where a Yamuna tear caused by plate tectonics caused a lateral shift of the Shiwalik ranges. This caused the eastward migration of the Yamuna, a tributary of Saraswati, taking the Saraswati waters to join the Ganga at Prayag and create the Triveni Sangam. This tectonic diversion of the Yamuna waters is recorded in our cultural memory through the story of Balaram, brother of Krishna, dragging the river Yamuna towards Mathura.

Reputed scholars now hold that the Saraswati-Indus and Vedic civilization are one and the same. They say it is impossible that the so-called Aryans left a massive literary corpus (Vedas) but not a shred of material culture as evidence of their presence in the region. At the same time, a rich material culture has been found in the same place at the same time, with evidence of writing found on seals. There is no evidence of invasion, or even substantial inward migration, but a population shift following the loss of a major water source. Dr. R.S. Bisht, former director, ASI, who excavated Dholavira (Gujarat) and supervised the search for the Saraswati in 2001, stressed: "The overwhelming archeological evidence of ancient settlements along the course of what was once the Saraswati River proves that our earliest civilizations were not confined to the Indus river alone. Those who wrote the Vedas on the banks of the Saraswati were the same as the Indus Valley people."

Dr.Rajaram responds to Ramachandara Guha on Golwalkar article

r.N S Rajaram responds to Ramachandra Guha's article in The Hindu , below is the letter to Mr.Guha

Dear Mr. Guha:

Thank you for your prompt response. Incidentally, Mani shankar Aiyer is also a St. Stephenite. He makes his living serving a European woman of no great education but finds it possible to sit in judgment over Savarkar!

Without Golwalkar, India would be another Bangladesh. I am interested to note that secular intellectuals, like Sonia Gandhi studiously avoid the word Jihad. They also don't want to mention the Khilafat and the Moplah Rebellion, which showed that an organized minority can terrorize a disorganized majority.

Of course, these Hindu critics can survive only because they have the protection of the Hindus! But want to bite the hand that protects them!

Here is my column on St. Stephen's mindset. In my view such education produces courtiers not leaders. That was the whole purpose anyway. (Incidentally, I was supposed to go to Doon School or its southern counterpart, the Rishi Valley, but my mother put her foot down. and sent me to aregular school.)

N.S. Rajaram


Is intellectual life in India stunted by an elite trapped in a colonial

N.S. Rajaram

These lines are occasioned by Swapan Dasgupta's recent columns extolling William Darlymple's book The Last Moghul, particularly his "History devalued" in which Dasgupta asks the legitimate question: "Has the study of the humanities collapsed in India?" (The New Indian Express, December 3, 2006)

Dasgupta in holds up The Last Moghul as an example of outstanding research while berating Indian academics for not using the wealth of material that is available in the National Archives lying unused before Darlymple brought them to light. This is a legitimate grouse, though one could equally legitimately ask why Dasgupta didn't use the same primary material and write such a book himself.

Berating Dasgupta is not my point though any comparison of his work to Arun shourie's is sobering indeed. In the same column, Dasgupta is dismissive about the work of what he calls nationalist historians who he feels are preoccupied with the Aryan invasion and the Harappan seals. This raises an interesting question: Harappan artifacts and the Vedic literature are also primary sources like the National Archives documents used by Darlymple that Dasgupta is ecstatic about.

Let us pause here for a moment and look at the progress achieved in ancient history, thanks to the work of outsiders like David Frawley, Shrikant Talageri, Bhagwan Singh and my distinguished colleague, the late Natwar Jha. The challenges they faced were much more formidable; in fact there is no comparison. Though Dasgupta seems to be in awe of Darlymple's use of the National Archives records, it is child's play compared to Abraham Sedienberg's derivation of the Sulba (Vedic) origins of Greek and Sumerian mathematics.

And nothing compared to Jha's monumental work relating the Vedic literature
and Harappan archaeology. The list could go on. Do we see a theology here? And a value system conditioned by this theology, which I would call St. Stephenism that takes its cue always from the West while never arriving at an independent valuation? A 'footnote to Western scholarship, ' as Shourie described the contribution of secularist historians? To begin with, Dasgupta's complaint is simply an echo of Darlymple's. There have been similar charges against establishment
historians' failure to use ancient records, which includes archaeology,
natural history and genetics. Here is where the breakthroughs have been- the Vedic-Harappan identity, India-SE Asia link (genetics and natural history), and the most dramatic of all, the coastal origins of Indian civilization taking it back to the end of the last Ice Age. None of this matters to Dasgupta and his fellow St. Stephenites, while they wax eloquent about a book by an Englishman on an insignificant page in Indian history.

Dasgupta is identified with the Hindu right, but to go by his expressions, he remains rooted in the intellectual framework created by the colonial-missionary thinking. St. Stephen's is a holdover from that era, with values that have disappeared from English education. Oxford and Cambridge had their reform movements more than a century ago, but St. Stephen's did not participate.

St. Stephenites may not realize it, but their view of history is remarkably close to the Islamist view of history. To Muslims, history of any place begins with the arrival of Islam; to a St. Stephenite, history begins with the arrival of the British. The most trivial of British contribution about India, like The Last Moghul, or in the case of Ramachandra Guha, cricket and even a charlatan like Verrier Elwin is more important than anything before the British came. Arun Shourie came out of the spell thanks to Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel.

This is not intended as a criticism of Swapan Dasgupta so much as the anachronistic education that seems to shape the mind of the Indian elite. I have high regard for Dasgupta's sincerity and integrity and good intentions. We should be grateful to Dasgupta and his colleagues for their valiant efforts. But we should also recognize the limitations imposed by an education that stifles any thought outside the framework created by colonial-missionary conditioning.

Ramaswamy Naicker Statue opposite the hoary Srirangam Temple

Press Release

Statement of Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Janata Party President made in Chennai on December 3, 2006

It was in the interest of dispensing justice that the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has recently stayed the Dravida Kazhagam's plan to erect a statue of E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker opposite the hoary Srirangam Temple. The DK's aim is not to honour the memory of EVR but to create tension in Tamil Nadu so that their masters, the terrorist LTTE can benefit from it and infiltrate into the state again. EVR had opposed all religions and hence the true followers of this atheistic creed should instal his statue in front of mosques and churches also. Instead, the DK is psychotic about Hindu religion and has reduced EVR's message from that of an atheist to an anti-Hindu rabble rouser. No democratic nation believing in the rule of law can permit such slander against the Hindu religion. The DK should realise that Hindus are 83 percent of India, and the day they decide to unite against such psychosis, the DK for relief will have to run away to LTTE controlled Jaffna peninsula, which relief will also be temporary since it is a matter of time before the LTTE is finished off or surrenders.

I strongly condemn this anti-Hindu behaviour of the DK and urge all Hindus of Tamil Nadu as well as those Muslims and Christians who accept that their ancestors are Hindus to unitedly oppose this traitorous behaviour of the DK.

December 03, 2006



Date: December 4, 2006 Venue: Brookings Institution, Stein Room

Conference Presented by the Saban Center for Middle East PolicyBrookings Institution

With support from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists

Welcome: 9:45 AM

Ambassador Martin Indyk – Director, Saban Center

Steve Grand – Director US-Islamic World Project

Muqtedar Khan – Program Chair and Senior Nonresident Fellow Bridging the Divide Initiative

10:00 -10:45 Keynote: Deputy Assistant Secretary Alina Romanowski

Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs Department of State

1:00 – 12.30: Panel: The Rise of Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes

Chair: Mr. Farid Senzai
Director of Research, ISPU

Mr. Nihad Awad
Council on American Islamic Relations

Imam Mahdi Brey
Freedom Foundation of America

Dr. Louay Safi
Executive Director, ISNA Leadership Center and AMSS

Lunch: 12.30-1.30

1:30-2:30 Keynote: Mr. Dan Sutherland
Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Department of Homeland Security

2.30-4.00 Combating Islamophobia; Role for Government and Civil Society

Chair and Panelists: Dr. Muqtedar Khan
Senior Nonresident Fellow

Mr. Salam al-Marayati
Muslim Public Affairs Council

Dr. Imad-ad-dean Ahmad
Minaret of Freedom Institute

M. A. Muqtedar Khan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science and International Relations
University of Delaware
Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Tel: 302-831-1939

Sonia Gandhi : How much hindus hate her


By Sushil Kumar

When some Kashmiri separatist engages himself in anti India tirade, such anti Indian tirade no doubt creates pain in the heart of every Indian. An average Indian fails to understand that why some people just because they belong to some other religion talk of breakage of the country which has given them so much. Do they have a right to do so? There are also people in the Indian mainland who think that by carrying out blasts in India, they serve their masters better & hence go to heaven in peace. These are the people who are enemies of their own country as well as religion.

It has always been Pakistan, which was instrumental in fomenting terrorism in India. But what started off as move to destabilize India, has now taken a monstrous turn around & has started impacting the existence of Pakistan.

When Mohammad Ali Jinnah created Pakistan, his personal goal was to have a secular nation with a Muslim majority. He used to deliver his speeches in fluent British accented English, which very few of his followers could understand. Whereas, the zealots who demanded partition based their arguments on the analogy that a Muslim homeland in the Muslim majority provinces of undivided India would act as an Oasis of peace for the Muslims of the subcontinent.

Instead of becoming an oasis of peace, Pakistan has become a hotbed of sectarian violence & a harbinger of international terrorism. Muslim is killing Muslim in the name of religion & sect. The dynamics of the political relationship in Pakistan is such that Sindhis hate Punjabis, Pathans & Mohajirs. Mohajirs hate Sindhis, Punjabis & Pathans. Saraikis hate Punjabis, Mohajirs & Pathans. And the Baluchs hate most of them. On one side sectarian killings are going on between Shias & Sunnis & on the other side Ahmedias are killed for being held as non Muslim by some fundamentalists. This is the state of affairs of a nation, which was built for the peace & security of Muslims. Whether the Kashmiri separatists want to add one more angle of hatred in Pakistan?

The organizations which were trained for jihad in Kashmir & Afghanistan have now trained their guns on Pakistani Muslims. Thus Deobandi, Barelvei, Ahle Hadees & Shia fundamentalist organizations bay for the blood of each other. South Asia Terrorism Portal ( (1) reports that during the period 1989-2004 there were 1837 incidents of sectarian violence in Pakistan resulting into death of 1668 people & injuries to 3997. While distinguished journalist Amir Mir in his monumental work ˜The True Face of Jihadis quotes the figure at 1872 incidents resulting into death of 1793 pakistanis & injury to 4288 during the period January 1989 to 31st June 2005.


(Some recent Incidents)

On Oct 6:2006 At least 18 people, a woman and a child among them, were killed in mortar attacks during an armed clash between two communities over the ownership of a shrine in Orakzai Agency.

Retaliatory clashes on account of Oct 6 incident resulted in killing of more than 30 people in the 2nd week of October 06.

On 10th April 2006 the hardliners targeted a rally of Barelvi Muslims at Nishtar Park, Karachi killing 56 people. The main leaders of Sunni Tehrik, Maulana Abbas Qadri, Maulana Iftikhar Bhatti and Maulana Akram Qadri; Hafiz Mohammad Taqi of Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan, chief of Tehrik Awam Ahl-i-Sunnat Haji Hanif Blue and Anjuman Tulaba-i-Islam central secretary-general Pir Bux Piral were among the dead.

On 9th February 2006 a bomb exploded at a Shia mosque at Hangu (125 Kms west of Islamabad) killing more than 30 people.

In March 2005 in a bombing of Shia mosque 46 people were killed in south western town of Fatehpur.

In December 2004 Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao had informed the Pakistani senate that a total of 155 people were killed and 651 injured in 231 incidents of sectarian clashes during 2001 to 2003.


The Sunni sectarian groups like Sipah-e-Sahiba & Lashkar “e-Jhangvi have been responsible for killing hundreds of Shias. The shia organizations like Tehreek-e-fiqh-e-Jaffaria, Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan etc. retaliate in the same manner.

Pakistani writer Abdul Rashid in his article ˜The Politics & Dynamics of Violent Sectarianism traces the roots to œThe sectarian and ethnic essentialism that came into its own in an organised, militant form in the Zia years now threatens the very fabric of society and poses an ever more serious challenge to the state. The dynamic of exclusion and minoritisation that had informed state policy, starting fairly early on with the Bengalis and moving to the Ahmadis in the 1970s, had moved under Zia from the periphery to centre-stage, as it were. The amended blasphemy law, the Hudood Ordinances, the public hangings and whippings created an ethos of brutality in which weaker sections of society became fair game by way of serving as instruments to establish the 'Islamic' credentials of the state as well as the 'privileged' claims of the more powerful mainstream sections of society. Religiosity rather than religion had been placed at a premium under Zia and had a significant bearing on the rise of a certain class to a point where it had access to the resources of the state and learnt to manipulate the levers of power. (3)

The appointment of deeni madaris holding Wifaq-ul-Madaris degree as Arabian Teachers in the education system opened a new job opportunity in Pakistan at the peril of modern education. A large number of these madaris are involved in fomenting sectarian violence resulting into killing of Muslims. The zakat & Ushr ordinances of 1979, created a boom for the madarssas. On Joining Zakat committees maulvis became Ushr collectors resulting into access to phenomenal funds. Zakat funds in turn were used to fund the madarssas. These financially sound madarssas later became the harbingers of terror. (4)

The Pakistan armed forces are also equally responsible for the sectarianism. The two decade old Afghan jihad fostered the links between the ISI, Army & the jihadis. The contagiousness of this cocktail has effected the Pakistani army in an greatly comprehensive manner. The fortunes of Deobandis & Salafis (wahabis) multiplied at the cost of numerically major sect like Barelvis & minorities like Shias. Amir Mir in his book ˜The True Face of Jihadis explains that œSince the overall ideological direction of Pakistans military establishment favours an Islamic state, some of the militant groups whom the regime used to support are often found involved in bloody acts of sectarian violence. The result is that the Musharraf administrations support for the jihadis fighting in J&K has indirectly promoted sectarian violence in Pakistan. The growing nexus between Pakistan-based sectarian groups & the jihadi ones active in J&K and Afghanistan has of late resulted in a spurt of sectarian violence in the country. These militant organizations now visibly threaten the countrys internal security. (5)

In poverty ridden state like Pakistan, non- producing occupation like religion has become huge mass employment opportunity. The Mullahs in order to outshine others go to any limits causing widespread injury to the Pakistani nation. The Warning bells are on for Pakistan.

The handful of Pakistani Sympathizers among the Indians, probably do not know these realities. In India, they are the rightful citizens of this country, whereas in Pakistan, their counterparts social & political identity gets determined like this :-


Fiver- Zaydi



And the intra & inter sect killing goes on, on & on.

At the end, on sectarian issue, it will be worthwhile to quote 3 heads of state of Pakistan, who reigned in totally different time frames :-

Jinnahs 11 August 1947 Speech while inaugurating the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan :- œ You may belong to any religion or caste or creed-that has nothing to do with the business of state ¦.. We are starting with this fundamental principle, that we are all citizens of one state. He further explained that a citizen of Pakistan œ no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what is his color , caste or creed is first, second and last a citizen of this state with equal rights, privileges and obligations¦ He hoped that œIn course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities ¦. Will vanish (6)

Mohammad Ayub Khans (Chief Martial Law Administrator 1958, President of Pakistan 1958-69) speech to leading Deobandi ulamas in May 1959 :- In his opinion Islam was œoriginally ¦ a dynamic & progressive movement ¦but with the passage of time, the Muslims at large sought to concentrate more on the dogmatic aspects of Islam [¦] Those who looked forward to progress & advancement came to be regarded as disbelievers and those who looked backward were considered devout Muslims. It is a great injustice to both life & religion to impose on twentieth century man the condition that he must go back several centuries in order to prove his bona fides as a true Muslim. (7)

General Parvez Musharraf (President of Pakistan from 20th June 2001) while addressing media at Karachi on 11th October 2006 :- œThe future of Pakistan lies in the tussle between the moderates and extremists and œwell have to work together to make sure the moderates emerge victorious, he also warned that if the extremists managed to win in this struggle then, in his view, œthe Quaid-i-Azams Pakistan will be no more. (8)

During past 60 years enough water has flown over the Indus. Angularities which Jinnah wanted to curb, were curbed by kicking out most of the Hindus from Pakistan. The upsurge of Taliban(which is a Deobandi movement) totally negated the wise remarks of Ayub & what Musharraf has stated does not carry any weight since he was also part of the same jihadi band wagon, which now is baying for his own blood. The intra & inter sect killing of Muslims continues unabated in an ˜Islamic Country (Darul Islam).

For the Kashmiri separatists & some of the Indian jihadis, isnt it is time to ponder over these realities?


South Asian Terrorism Portal (
News reports from ˜Dawn Internet edition (
˜The Politics & Dynamics of Violent Sectarianism by Abdul Rashid
˜The True Face of Jihadis by Amir Mir “ Publisher- Lotus Roli (pg.114)
˜The Man Who Divided India by Dr. Rafiq Zakaria Publisher “Popular Prakashan (Pg. 161)
˜Pakistan “A Modern History by Ian Talbot- Publisher-Foundation Books (Pg.150)
˜Dawn Internet edition dated 12th Oct. 2006

(I am a Bhilai based Chartered Accountant & can be contacted at or 2/1,2nd floor, Aparajita Complex, Akashganga, Bhilai) 0788-4031223,9826393095)